martedì 17 gennaio 2017

lunedì 16 gennaio 2017

My Sweet Lord

Wesley So – Richárd Rapport
79th Tata Steel Chess Tournament; Wijk aan Zee, January 16, 2017
Queen’s Indian Defence E18

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 b6 3. d4 Bb7 4. c4 e6 5. Bg2 Be7 6. 0-0 0-0 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2 Bf6 9. Rc1 Nxd2 10. Qxd2 d6 11. d5 e5 12. e4 Nd7 13. h4 a5 14. Bh3 Nc5 15. Kg2 Bc8. Strangely enough, it’s a theoretical duel, even if White’s position reflects something ungainly and unnatural. 16. Rh1!? It won’t result in significant improvement over 16. Bxc8 Qxc8 17. Qe2 Be7 18. Nd2 Nd7 19. Rh1 Nf6 20. Nf1 h5 21. Ne3 g6 22. Rcg1 Kg7 23. Kf1 Rh8 24. Ke1 Qd7 25. Kd1 Kg8 26. f3 Bf8 27. g4 Rh7 28. Kc2 Be7 29. Rg2 Qd8 30. Kb1 Kh8 31. Nf1 Nd7 32. Rgh2 Kg7 33. Rh3 hxg4 34. fxg4 Rxh4 35. Rxh4 Bxh4 36. Qh2 Bg5 37. Qh7+ Kf8 38. Nh2 Qf6 39. Rf1 Bf4 40. Nf3 Ke7 41. Rh1 Bg3 42. Nd2 Qf4 43. Qh3 Nf6 44. Qg2 Qxg4 45. Ne2 Bf4 46. Nxf4 exf4 47. Qf1 Nh5 48. Qd3 Kf8 49. a3 Re8 50. Ka2 Kg7 51. Nf3 Nf6 52. Re1 Nd7 53. Qc3+ Ne5 54. Rf1 Qh3 55. Qc1 Nxf3 56. Qc3+ f6 57. Rxf3 Qg4 58. Qd3 Rh8 0 : 1 Tomashevsky – Ponomariov, 42nd Chess Olympiad, Baku 2016. 16. ... Bxh3+ 17. Rxh3 Qd7 18. Nh2 h5 19. f3 g6 20. g4 Kh7 21. Rh1 Rg8 22. Qd1 Bg7 23. Nf1 Bh6 24. Kf2

24. ... Bc1! “Amazing how Richard Rapport manages to produce a tactical trick with his only two (mildly) active pieces!”, Grandmaster Nigel David Short said. 25. Ng3 Bxb2 26. Nb5 Bc1! On the road again. 27. gxh5 Bf4! 28. Nc3 f5! White’s situation is a nightmare. Rapport’s Pawn sacrifice announces the start of the assault. 29. hxg6+ Rxg6 30. Nxf5 Rag8 31. Kf1 b5! Big bang disruption. Only the faith in the Lord can give Wesley reason for hope. 32. cxb5. Also 32. Nxb5 is met by 32. ... Rg2 eventually followed by ... Rg2-d2 and ... Rg8-g2. 32... Rg2 33. Qb1. Wesley had no choice, for after 33. Ne2 Qxb5 Black wins very easily. 33. ... Qf7?? Here is where Rapport’s melodramatic cupio dissolvi begins and ends as well. After 33. ... Rd2! 34. Rg1 Rxg1+ 35. Kxg1 Qe8 Black’s attack would have been overwhelming. 34. Ne2! Qg6?? With tragic consistency Rapport accomplishes his suicide mission. Comparatively best was 34. ... c6!!∞ with some chances to play for the initiative. 35. Ne7! Now White is simply winning. 35. ... Rf2+!? A last ditch try, but not grounded enough to worry So. 36. Kxf2 Qg2+ 37. Ke1 Rg3 38. Rxg3 Qxh1+ 39. Rg1 Qxf3 40. Nxf4 Qe3+ 41. Ne2 Nd3+. Black gains Her Majesty’s crown but not the Queen’s heart. 42. Qxd3! Qxd3 43. Ng8! Qf3 44. h5! Kh8 45. Rg6! Qh1+ 46. Kd2 Qxe4 47. Nf6 Qb4+ 48. Ke3 1 : 0. “Wesley So rose from the dead today”, Short said.

Wesley So vs. Richárd Rapport
Photo: Tata Steel Chess (Facebook)

White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum

CCTV yesterday awarded 吴敏霞 (Wú Mǐnxiá) & 施廷懋 (Shī Tíngmào) the “Dream Team of 2016” sport’s Oscar, and now here they are, triumphally entering the “red carpet” of today’s edition of the 重庆晨报 (Chóngqìng Morning Post).

施廷懋 (Shī Tíngmào) & 吴敏霞 (Wú Mǐnxiá)

The Economy of Trust

Davos, Switzerland: Police guard the roof of the Kongress hotel during the World Economic Forum (WEF). Photo: Gian Ehrenzeller/EPA.

Stepping on the Rock

Acceptance Speech

“Thanks to the Chinese diving team leader, coaches, staff personnel, and my young partner; thanks to CCTV; thanks to all friends for their passion for sport and their constant support to the Chinese diving team and to me personally! Tonight the Chinese diving team is open to all friends!!! 😂 😂 😂 ❤️️ ❤️️ ❤️️”, Diving Queen 吴敏霞 (Wú Mǐnxiá) wrote yesterday (half an hour before midnight) on her 新浪微博 (Wēibó) account. All photos:

Day and Night

After Sunday comes Monday, and that’s where we all are now. Everything starts over again for another week. And since it’s better to not think about all those bad things that could be called “Arcovazzi”, please spend your working time as you can, and jump into the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s evening dance classes as soon as possible!

That’s why we don’t eat animals
Photo: René Maltête

domenica 15 gennaio 2017

Knock Four Times

Diving Queen 吴敏霞 (Wú Mǐnxiá) appeared today quite surprised in receiving the prestigious “Dream Team of the Year” prize at the CCTV Sports Personality of the Year 2016 Award Ceremony staged at the 水立方 (Water Cube) in 北京 (Běijīng), China. After thanking all her partners who, through the years, accompanied her in her celestial flights, she said of not being ready for an acceptance speech, because “I never won it before. I had to come four times!”. Even more excited looked her partner 施廷懋 (Shī Tíngmào), who earned everyone’s sympathy for confessing her dissatisfaction with her own dress. But, since it was the first (lucky) time for her, and since she is not “retired”, she should hopefully get a second chance for wearing a goddess dress. Photos: 李志岩 (Li Zhìyán)/

Squaring the circle

Magnus Carlsen – Radosław Wojtaszek
79th Tata Steel Chess Tournament; Wijk aan Zee, January 15, 2017
Sicilian Defence B90

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. a3!? Curiously enough, Carlsen shares Karjakin’s theoretical paradoxes. 7. ... e5 7. Nf5!? Yesterday we saw 7. Nf3 Be7 8. Bc4 Be6 9. Ba2 0-0 10. 0-0 b5 11. Re1 Re8 12. Bg5 Nbd7 13. Nd2 Rb8 14. Bxf6 Nxf6 15. Nf1 b4 16. Nd5 bxa3 17. bxa3 Nxd5 18. Bxd5 Bg5 19. g3 Qd7 20. Qd3 Rb6 21. h4 Bh6 22. Reb1 Reb8 23. Rb3 Bxd5 24. Qxd5 g6 25. Rab1 Rxb3 26. Rxb3 Qc7 27. a4 Bc1 28. Kg2 h5 29. Nh2 Rxb3 30. cxb3 Qc2 31. Nf1 a5 32. Kf3 Qc3+ 33. Ke2 Qc2+ 34. Kf3 Qc3+ 35. Ke2 ½ : ½ Karjakin – Giri, 79th Tata Steel Chess Tournament, Wijk aan Zee 2017. 7. ... d5. Thematic. 8. Bg5 d4 9. Bxf6 Qxf6? Quite an unfortunate (possibly new) idea. Correct was 9. ... gxf6(!) which seems to offer Black a perfectly playable game – even if a bit unbalanced. 10. Nd5 Qd8 11. Qg4 Bxf5. On 11. ... g6 12. Qg3! may be very unpleasant. 12. Qxf5 Bd6 13. h4. White has a clear initiative. 13. ... Nc6 14. Bc4! Carlsen is in no hurry to castle. 14. ... b5. 14. ... Qa5+ 15. Kf1 doesn’t make much difference with the actual game. 15. Bb3 Ne7. After long thought Black decides to remove the Knight from d5. 16. Qg4 0-0 17. Rh3 Nxd5 18. Bxd5. But now the d5-Bishop dominates the board. 18. ... Ra7 19. Rg3 Qf6 20. a4! If 20. 0-0-0 then 20. ... a5 eventually followed by ... a5-a4 and ... b5-b4 could offer some counterplay. 20. ... Bb4+ 21. Kf1! bxa4 22. Rxa4 a5

23. Ra1! The Rook is eventually heading for f3 via d1 and d3. 23. ... Rc7 24. Bb3 Ra8 25. Kg1. White has finally castled! 25. ... Bf8 26. Qh5 g6 27. Qg4 Ra6 28. h5 Qf4. With less than 5 minutes left, it’s no wonder that sooner or later Wojtaszek will fall down. 29. Qe2 Qf6 30. Qb5 Qc6? That’s the crisis: Black trivially drops a Pawn. Here 30. ... Rc5 31. hxg6 hxg6 (31. ... Rxb5?? 32. gxf7++ Kh8 33. Rg8 mate) 32. Qe2±/+- appeared to be the lesser worst. 31. Qxe5. Down a Pawn and with no time left, Black is hopeless. 31. ... Re7 32. Qf4 a4 33. Bd5 Qc7. If 33. ... Qxc2 then 34. Rc1 Qxb2 35. Rc8 winning easily. 34. Qd2 Qb6 35. Ra2 Rc7 36. Rf3 Qb4 37. Qe2 Rb6 38. hxg6 hxg6 39. g3 Kg7 40. Kg2 Rd7. The time control is finally reached, but just for celebrating an unhappy ending. 41. Qd1! Rf6 42. Rxf6 Kxf6 43. c3! dxc3 44. Rxa4 1 : 0. Faced with the loss of a second Pawn (at least), Black resigned.

Magnus Carlsen
Photo: Tata Steel Chess (Facebook)

The Drowned World

On the seabed off the coast of Lanzarote, British artist Jason deCaires Taylor is creating an extraordinary series of underwater artworks, concrete figures representing desperate refugees and selfie-taking tourists that are transformed as they become slowly colonised by marine life. [Read more].

The Raft of Lampedusa, Taylor’s modern-day concrete echo of Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa. The work has particular significance given the huge movement of refugees across the sea to Europe – and the frequent fatalities that result. Photo: Jason deCaires Taylor.

Sculptures that form part of the Rubicon installation are seen on land in Lanzarote. The final piece features a fence that the figures walk towards. The piece is about the dangers of climate change and the fence marks a point of no return – the figures walk towards it looking at mobile phones and not paying attention. Photo: Jason deCaires Taylor.

Red Carpet Style

Queens and Kings also paraded on the red carpet of the CCTV Sports Personality of the Year 2016 Award Ceremony. Standing third from left is the current Women's World Chess Champion 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán), gallantly sheltered by her long time mentors 余少腾 (Yú Shǎoténg) (first from left) and 叶江川 (Yè Jiāngchuān) (fourth from left). Photo: Vision China.

Day of the Locusts

And finally 吴敏霞 (Wú Mǐnxiá) & 施廷懋 (Shī Tíngmào) were crowned and acclaimed as “Dream Team of the Year” at the CCTV Sports Personality of the Year 2016 Award Ceremony held at the 水立方 (Water Cube) in 北京 (Běijīng), China on January 15, 2017.

sabato 14 gennaio 2017

Fur of Flying

Jorden van Foreest – Erwin l’Ami
79th Tata Steel Challengers Chess Tournament; Wijk aan Zee, January 14, 2017
Caro-Kann Defence B19

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nd7 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 e6 11. Bd2 Ngf6 12. 0-0-0 Be7 13. Kb1 Rc8 14. Ne4 c5 15. Nxf6+ Bxf6? This move is neither new nor good. Black ought to play 15. ... Nxf6, e.g. 16. Qb5+ Qd7 17. Qxd7+ Nxd7 18. Be3 Nf6 19. Ne5 Nd5 20. Bc1 Bf6 21. c4 Ne7 22. Bf4 cxd4 23. Rxd4 Nf5 24. Re4 Nd6 25. Rd4 Nf5 26. Re4 Nd6 27. Rd4 Nf5 28. Re4 Nd6 29. Rd4 Nf5 30. Re4 Nd6 31. Rd4 Nf5 32. Re4 Nd6 ½ : ½ Kokarev – Rozum, 21st Russian Team Chess Championship, Loo 2014.

16. d5! A very powerful refutation! In Baglan – Abhishek, Boriše Karadžića Memorial, Palić 2016 was seen the insignificant 16. dxc5 Nxc5 17. Qxd8+ Rxd8 18. Be3 Rc8 19. Nd2 Ke7 which led nowhere. 16. ... Qb6 17. c3 c4 18. Qe4 e5 19. Be3! Qd6 20. Nd4. White has already acquired an imposing preponderance. 20. ... Nc5 21. Qg4 Qd7 22. Nf5 Nd3 23. Nxg7+! Bxg7 24. Qxg7 Ke7 25. Bc5+! Rxc5. Clearly not 25. ... Nxc5?? on account of 26. Qxe5+ followed by Qe5xh8+. 26. Qxh8. White is the Exchange and a Pawn up, and there is no compensation for Black. 26. ... Qf5. The smothered mate is l’Ami’s last chimera: 27. Qxh6?? Ne1+! 28. Ka1 Nc2+ 29. Kb1 Na3++ 30. Ka1 Qb1+ 31. Rxb1 Nc2 mate. 27. Ka1! Rxd5. This is virtually useless, but also 28. ... Qxf2 29. d6+! Kd7 30. Rb1 offers Black no hope at all. 28. Qxh6. Well done! The passed h-Pawn will prove to be overwhelming. 28. ... Qxf2 29. Qg5+ f6 30. Qg7+ Ke6 31. Qxb7. Stockfish plays hard with 31. Rb1, but... don’t be deceived by the “gentle” technique of van Foreest: he’s a real board-roller! 31. ... Qb6 32. Qxb6+ axb6 33. h6 Rd8 34. h7 Rh8 35. Rh6 b5 36. Rf1 Nf4 37. g3 Nd5 38. g4 Kf7 39. g5 Kg7 40. Rhh1 1 : 0.

Magic Squares and Cubes

All is ready for the CCTV Sports Personality of the Year 2016 Award Ceremony to be held at the 水立方 (Water Cube) in 北京 (Běijīng), China on January 15. CCTV-5 will start to broadcast live any part of the “frontstage” and the “backstage” from 14,30.

The Unbreathable Lightness of Being

鄭州 (Zhèngzhōu), China: Passengers walk in the smog at 鄭州 (Zhèngzhōu) East Railway Station. The central meteorological observatory issued a yellow alert of smog in the city with visibility down to below 50m. Photo: VCG/Getty Images.

The Ice

Dvůr Králové nad Labem, Czech Republic: A Persian leopard plays with a bottle of snow at the town’s zoo. Photo: Slavek Ruta/Shutterstock.

venerdì 13 gennaio 2017

Quest for Kim
Calm down, people. It’s unlikely Kim Kardashian is an actual Communist; she’s just into ironic, overly expensive sweatshirts. [Read more].

Kim Kardashian (pictured above) wearing a Vetements sweatshirt sporting the communist hammer & sickle.

Hammer and sickle limited edition hoodie by Vetements/SV Moscow. Photo: Calvert Journal.

Steel Men

Shoulder to shoulder. The first super-tournament of the year is opened in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands. For further information, see

Dressage in the Fifth Dimension
The most decorated diver in history, 吴敏霞 (Wú Mǐnxiá), seeking her own ground, her own style, and her own self to keep being a mermaid a secret. Photo:

The cheongsam is a body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress for women, also known as 旗袍 (qípáo), and Mandarin gown. The stylish and often tight-fitting cheongsam or qipao (chipao) that is best known today was created in the 1920s in 上海 (Shànghǎi) and made fashionable by socialites and upper class women. [From Wikipedia].

The Importance of Not Being Arcovazzi
Refugee agency claims people being pushed back over borders, beaten by police and having phones and clothes confiscated

Refugees and migrants at risk of dying in the severe cold weather sweeping across Europe are being moved back over borders and subjected to violence and confiscations, the UN’s Refugee Agency has said, as it calls on governments to do more to help. [Read more].


While “hamletically” wondering about her future, Olympic Goddess 吴敏霞 (Wú Mǐnxiá) enjoys the warm affection of her beloved petfriend. “Little Candy just cannot sit on sofa, he has absolutely to sit on my lap, and is laughing so happily. He’s so sticky, doesn’it? 😂”, she wrote today on her 新浪微博 (Wēibó) account. Photo:

National Sorry Day

Odds and Ends

It’s not a breaking news story, so you won’t hear anyone telling it in a press conference. Marcus Paulus Venetus & Arcovazzi were marching in the direction of Via della Rabbia (Anger Street) to vehemently protest their alleged exclusion from the Xmas Dinner party organised in favour of poor people and disadvantaged groups. Unluckily, that day there was a bus strike.


The Pastry Queen